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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  September 29, 2015 11:30pm-12:01am EDT

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a theory is that kink dut pus buried in a chamber of what what is the time. >> i'm antonio mora, for news any time head to swar are ray suarez is next with "inside story". have a good night. is it the end of the story for volkswagen? it's only the beginning of the earthquake shaking the world's largest car brand, german industry, and its reputation worldwide. vw's emissions admissions is the inside
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story. welcome to inside story. i'm ray suarez. auto makers worldwide have been under pressure to find a few different holy grails. one, to design engines that power trucks and automobiles while using less energy. the other, to make vehicles that pollute less while doing it. volkswagen delivered stunning numbers by teaching the engine how to line. now the ceo has resigned in disgrace, stocks have been battered, and one of germany's most valuable brands is badly damaged. lisa stark takes a look at an auto scandal kicking into high gear. >>reporter: earlier this year, volkswagen reached the top of the mountain as the world's biggest car seller.
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now the giant of german auto manufacturing is in a free fall. >> this is a massive scandal that not only cheated consumers but also harmed the environment. >> vw installed sophisticated software to cheat on u.s. emissions test. they tested clean but really was over the allowable limit by 40% of nitrous oxide. >> this stuff didn't happen by accident. that's a character crisis. >>reporter: the scandal has already claimed vw's ceo now under investigation by german officials.
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the new ceo has promised to win back the trust of the public. most made from 2009 to 2015 are affected. 11 million worldwide. the u.s. now has beened sales of new models as well as sweden. other countries may follow suit. >> vw marketed them as fun. >> we need resuscitation. >> and in a 2010 ad, they emphasized green technology. the tag line, truth in engineering. the big question is who knew about deception and when. >> no one respects a company that deceives anybody. >>reporter: jack fitzgerald has been selling cars for more than 50 years. he doesn't excuse what vw has
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done but says he gets a lot more riled up over toyota's unintended acceleration and honda's defected air bags. that has cost lives. >> people getting injured is far more significant than whether the epa is satisfied with the amount of emissions in some diesel engine. it just is. >>reporter: but vw is in legal hot water. facing fines of up to $18 billion. class action lawsuits and investigations overseas and by the u.s. justice department. >> people need to to to jail. this is one of the most comprehensive and complex frauds states >> now, adding to the outrage, vw is a serial offender. they were fined back in 73 and 2005 for violating the clean air act. vw admitted no wrong doing. and they're not the only ones. the epa has fined the
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makers of large diesel trucks and other car manufacturers including honda, ford, and gm. the government relies on car companies to do its own compliance testing with standards and the epa does spot checks. the agency is now promising to increase its checks. pat moore joins us now. he's been covering the vw story. how did this first come to light that the car company was engineering deceit into its engines? >> sure thing. this started about a year ago when a small group out in d.c. called the international center on clean transportation commissioned some researchers at the west virginia university to test these cars. they were expecting to find good results and they wanted to show that diesel could be a clean auto technology. obviously what they have found
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has really shaken that belief. and after a year of talking to california and federal regulators, vw admitted that some 11 million cars around the technology. >> they've already pulled the diesel cars out of their product lines. you can't find them there. what has the company said to american consumers who are driving around half a million strong in these vehicles? what do they intend to do? >> sure. that's a good question. basically they intend to fix the vehicles but the real question is how they'll go about doing that. they said actually today they would present a plan by the end of next month but what remains to be seen is what that will do to the cars. the fuel efficiency and the power which is a big selling point for these cars. and people are worried that what they propose to fix could hurt resale values.
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>> i guess the congress has already made it clear it wants to hear from volkswagen as well? >> sure. yeah. tlts been a lot of talk -- there's been a lot of talk from law makers and regulators around the u.s. and the world. they won't get off easy here. >> is there any parallel? are there cases where it's not merely a product defect but an intentional plan to deceive regulators. is there a parallel to this vw case. there's not a lot of one. there are cases obviously as was mentioned earlier where the epa has come in and fined auto makers but the big recall that we hear about on the news, they really have to do a company making a mistake or having some defect in a car. the deceit here certainly makes this case pretty unique. >> pat moore is a contributing reporter for the "washington post." thank you for joining us this is hardly the first time a car company's gotten into
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trouble. just recently, general motors has been in hot water over fatally faulty ignitions. are these not of a design flaw but of a product purposely engineered to deceive something different? stay with us. it's inside story.
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>> vw's emission admissions on the program. they were stars in the automotive world helping speed the growth of diesel in private automobiles in the u.s. like the one that took root in europe over 20 years ago. there are some half a million tbi equipped autos in the united states and millions more across the world not only wearing the vw badge but branded as spanish -- audis. how did the company get away with lying so much? one estimate says the vw autos probably belched 11 million tons more pollutants into the world's air than they would have you believe.
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joining me now is dan carter and stanley young, director of communications for the california environmental protection agency air resources board. dan carter, the fuels themselves are different. the engines are different. but what's different about what comes out of a tail pipe between a gasoline engine and a diesel engine. >> the pollutantses that -- pollutants are -- >> i understand that co 2 is less of a problem with diesel but the nitrogen related ox ten compounds are more of a problem? >> yeah. particularly when you're looking at
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preknocks in par -- particulate control and lower co2 due to an efficiency gain than in gasoline engines. >> so the particles coming out are pretty small in the case of diesel, aren't they? >> yes, very small and they've implemented traps and those are very good at trapping those. in fact, you know, at least 95% of those particles are trapped and that efficiency goes up as the trap is operated. >> stanley young, has the u.s. government basically been taking car makers' word for it on the stats of emissions and mileage? >> well, a lot of this involves a degree of faith in data. they went us with the data for
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the certification of the engines and cars and we do testing on a certain percentage, something like tax returns. not every tax return is vetted. and that's the similar case because we depend on the data that the manufacturers provide for us. >> is that because of the cost, stanley young? >> yes. and there are many, many models anden gee families. so we can only do a certain spot check. >> you know, there were a lot of promises made about that engine. when somebody comes out with a product that sounds almost too good to be true, does that attract more attention? does somebody say, wow, i got to see if that's really what's happening in that engine? >> well, we certainly put these cars through their paces. on the test bench. and that's the crux of the problem. on the test bench, they performed immaculately over and
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over again, every single model and consequently under the rules, it was thanks to very good verge work that west virginia did that we discovered that the on road emissions were very high and we decided to begin holding meetings with volkswagen to address the issue for the cars that were in california. >> dan carter, how did you find them out if the specific design was to deliver a cleaner emission when it was being checked? that was what the software was designed to do. >> we used a technology called portable emissions measurement systems. this has been around since -- actually the whole sector was kind of pioneered here at wvu during the consent decree so if you want to think of it as laboratory equipment that you can place on board the car and actually measure the emissions of the vehicles as they're
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driving down the road. real world conditions. >> and it was that real world condition that didn't kick on the software design that was meant to run the engine cleaner when it was being screened? ? yeah. we saw a considerable difference between the emission levels produced during highway operation and those produced in the laboratory at the labs. >> ray, i, what happened is when we got those results from west virginia, we took the baton and we carried it on because we went directly to volkswagen and we said how do you explain what's happening here? this incredible discrepancy between the test bench and the real world emissions. and over the period of about a year we continue wally came back to them and it was actually dogged detectivive work like an onion layer by layer we peeled
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it back until we were able to reveal the fact that there was what's known as a defeat device inside the software. >> i was just driving in california over the weekend, i saw a lot of volkswagens on the road. is there a cumulative burden that individual states have had to take from the fact that these cars lied to them? do you even have a ballpark fig your stanley young on what that might have been. >> we're developing an inventory of the excess emissions that we got and that's a very important part of our ongoing effort to engage in enforcement action. our top priority is to make sure these cars are cleaned up, fixed, and run as well as the tests that they delivered in the lab. >> dan carter, does this call into question whether diesel has been a benefit at all after all the ballyhoo about its clean operation? >> absolutely not. i think this is an issue of
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certification results not matching real world results. we saw the bmwxi perform very well. it was at or below the emission standard levels. >> dan carter directs the center for alternative fuels, engines, and emissions at west virginia university. stanley young is the director of communications for the epa's air resources board in california. thanks for being with us, gentlemen. go to the volkswagen website and you'll see not a mention of diesel engines. the made in germany label, a world standard for manufacturing excellence has likely taken a beating. what should vw, a massive multinational producer do to recover? stay with us. it's inside story.
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welcome back to "inside story", i'm ray suarez. volkswagen has been in trouble before - bribery, prostitution, shenanigans shedding an uncomfortable light on a best-known brand in germany. the early scandals were different moving behind sleazie executives to something more critical, the quality of the product. if you question the quality, reliability, the design of the autoitself, that's something else again. jean joins us now, a crisis manager and, you know, this is a longitudinal business. you want to keep the customers that you have got and get people in other cars out of them and into your product. this will seem like a tough time to do that for volkswagen. >> they have a big challenge
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ahead, no doubt about it. part of it is the clock ticks, when you think about it. primarily it's follow through. will they deliver on the promise of making the car owners whole again. making them comply with the standards. if they do that, volkswagen can come back, and i think the reason is we don't have a question about reliability or the quality of the cars or engineering. there's no fatalities, no direct injuries, so with that, i think that as unusual as this is. assist a planned diessential as people have been -- deception as people have been calling it, the underlying quality of the car is not in question. companies behaviour in the months after the disclosures sends a signal to the public that can, besides the quality of the car make people not want to do business with you. that's why the hard optics,
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largely follow through. one of the first things they have to do now now that they have a new c.e.o., maybe it's the human face, who is responsible for the investigation. whether it's a prominent outsider or someone inside the company with stature. when they find out who is responsible, they need to fire them. aid in the prosecution of those individuals, to demonstrate to the public and customers that they are willing to follow through and are trustworthy again. >> when the b.p. blow out in the gulf of mexico killed 11 and fouled the gulf of mexico extensively, the company fell on its sword, spread a lot of money around, but behind the scenes it was fighting tooth and nail not to spend more money, and the public finds that out. does that undermine the sincerity of a willingness to make good. does volkswagen not only take a
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hit. but convince the public in understanding what it did wrong. >> absolutely, you can't talk yourself out of something you behaved yourself into. they behaved into a tough spot. now they have a behave out of it. when they find wrongdoing, fire those people, make people whole and another key point that is lost in all of this are the dealers. they are the front line for a consumer. when you go into a volkswagen dealership, you need to be prepared. they need so have video, answers, they have to mount a global advertising campaign which shows trust worthiness, and one key element for a company that is based in germany - they need to find spokespeople in the different markets they are in. frerkz, in the -- for example, in the united states, they need
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to find a face in america who can do interviews and talk in straight forward terms about volkswagen commitment. >> does the fact, and you anticipated my next question, that this is a vast multinational corporation with manufacturing and distribution all over the world. is that a strength or weakness, it has a lot of arms and tentacles. >> if they manage this correctly, it could be a great strength one of the things b.p. didn't do is spend time with regulators, building alliances with people like the president of the united states, and the regulators. what volkswagen has to do is invest time and effort and money into meeting with regulators, public officials, making sure they are allies, so they have a stake, too, in bringing the company back. if they fail to do that, if they make enemies, they are in deeper trouble than now.
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>> if the new guy that took over for the departed c.e.o. asked you, gene, how long should i figure this is going to take. how much time do we have to anticipate this taking. >> till the dust has settled. mr mueller is going to have to be prepared to spend years on this. it's a long road back. people have to be reassured. you have to continue to apologise. a key point is when you do apologise, you have to follow through and say here is what we are doing that is new, to fix this. a company that the company makes is they think the apology is the be all, and end aum. follow through on a commitment and demonstrate with financial means, and with demonstration of fixing the problem. that is what is going to do it. an optical thing that is important. they need to announce, that they set aside 15-$20 billion,
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whatever it takes to make the $11 million car owners secure, knowing that the cars are valuable and they comply with the regulations. if they announce a huge dollar amount, that is something that the public can fixate on and say there's a demonstration. there's something tactile that the government is doing. they need to do it over and over. >> meaning you, the vw driver will not get stuck with a lemon. thank you for going us. i'll be back with a thought on trust, regulators and results. stay with us, it's "inside story". follow me and get in touch at ray suarez. tell us what you think, would you buy a volkswagen now, we'd love to hear from you.
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one of the most frequently recurring fights between automakers and governments had to do with the window sticker. you may have noticed they evolved with time, and when you look at the sheet of statistics, and can provide a yard stick for comparing one car to another. or does it. one thing that has emerged from the extensive reporting from vw in the u.s. is that american regulators knew a lot of testing was inaccurate, so inaccurate that it could overstate engine efficiency by 40%. once they make it to the united
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states, there's no attempt to systematically check the claims. car-makers do their own tests. e.p.a. checks at random after the fact. the consequences sheeting look likely to get enormous, even as europe switched to diesel automobiles. and cheating won't bring leniency or more strenuous efforts to check claims on clean operations, on efficiency and mileage. vw's wound exposed quickly after it became the world's largest automanufacturer will open the door to new systems, engines and competitors. you can't spell karma without car - well, you know what i
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the u.s. launches air strikes in the afghan city of kund use as government troops try to take it back


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